With universities resuming across the UK, GamCare have launched their Big Deal campaign, aimed at educating students about the risks of problem gambling and where to go to get help.
The campaign has been guided by lived experience, with former sufferers of gambling-related harm detailing their experiences while at university. During Freshers’ Week, GamCare also ran a campaign highlighting to students how to spot the signs of impulsive gambling behaviours.
Speaking about the importance of the initiative, the Senior Programme Manager at GamCare, Alexa Roseblade, said: “During this time of transition many young people are entering environments where gambling can be the norm – but there’s a lack of knowledge on how to recognise gambling harm or know where to turn to for support.
“There are many key drivers that contribute to this issue amongst students – having more time, personal independence and financial freedom with easy access to overdrafts and loans can encourage increased gambling behaviours. We launched BigDeal, a website to inform young people of the support on hand and importantly reassure them they are not alone.”
The importance of listening to lived experience was recently detailed by EPIC Risk Management’s Head of Delivery US, Mark Potter, at Kindred Group’s Breakout Session. Here, he stressed its key role in the development of safer gambling strategies and tools.
Potter accepted that the gambling industry sometimes struggles to balance commercial motives with social responsibility, but stressed this is important to ensure long-term sustainability of the industry.
He said: “We recognise that gambling is recognised as a leisure activity enjoyed on a regular basis by millions of people around the world, and done in a responsible way.
“However, what we see is that gambling can have a negative impact on the lives of a small percentage of people, and that is why the use of lived experience is so important.”
Sustainable Gambling Conference
Tuesday saw Kindred Group’s Sustainable Gambling Conference (SGC) 2021, where the topic of responsible gambling was at the fore.
Maarten Haijer, the Secretary-General of the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA), outlined some key points following the organisation’s first sustainability report, which was published last July.
Stressing the importance of transparency and data sharing, he called for a ‘cross-border knowledge centre’ which operators can use to share information.
He said: “There are still huge gaps in the research and data that are available, and we need to have a much better understanding of all the issues in relation to safer gambling. This goes for all stakeholders.
“We must benefit from more data and knowledge, and one of the things that might be interesting to work towards is a cross-border knowledge centre where data and research can be collected, uploaded and then disseminated, as well as being accessible to researchers, operators and regulators. I think a central point to access data would be an interesting development.”
He also stressed the importance of analysing current practices and seeing if they could be improved, as well as demanding greater commitment from the industry towards social responsibility in general.
He said: “I think we need to have a much bigger commitment to reduce harm and step-up monitoring and analysis of customer behaviour. Test and review your policies – are they working? And as a whole, we need to work towards more common definitions of the standards of problem gambling, but this goes well beyond operators. It goes for regulators and the research community.”
Moving to the Netherlands and it was a chaotic launch for their new regulated online gambling market as a technical issue hindered the launch of their self-exclusion program, Cruks. The fault resulted in a day’s delay for online providers, but land-based operators were unaffected.
The remaining issues with Cruks were resolved by 4 October, with the self-exclusion system now accessible to all players. The country’s Remote Gambling Act (KOA) stipulates that all licensed operators have to integrate their systems with Cruks, which allows consumers the option of excluding themselves from accessing licensed gambling websites and land-based arcades and casinos for a period of at least six months.
Staying in the Netherlands and Dutch regulator De Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has started consulting with operators on the rules around the use of data in relation to gambling addiction research.
Feedback has been requested on proposals as to how this would be performed, with the aim of the research to help identify and intervene early when it comes to potentially risky behaviours.
One proposal could see operators asked to submit data to a research institution on request. They would need to respond no later than 28 days after the request was made. Furthermore, such data must be anonymised to protect identity.
In Sweden, a government report suggests the authorities could soon be given more powers to be able to block all unlicensed gambling sites, regardless of whether or not they are actively targeting the Swedish market. This would mean that all gambling that was accessible to customers in Sweden would fall under the scope of the country’s Gambling Act.
Current provisions state that “online gambling [that] is not directed at the Swedish market shall not be considered to be provided in Sweden”. However, with these changes, it would permit the blocking of sites that do not actively prevent Swedish customers from playing.
Changes on the operation of payment blocking to unlicensed operators have also been proposed while Spelinspektionen may also conduct “test purchases” to see whether particular gambling sites are available to players in Sweden.
Moving to Portugal and the Assembly of the Republic has approved four bills designed to establish limits on gambling advertising, enabling them to move on to the next stage of the legislative process.
If passed, gambling would be treated similarly to alcohol, meaning that it would no longer be advertised between 7am and 10:30pm on both radio and television. Stricter measures will also be introduced regarding the protection of under-18s when it comes to advertising while there will also be mandatory warnings on addiction on so-called “social games” such as lotteries.
The boosting of both consumer protection and responsible gambling awareness is also covered in the four bills, with one calling for the introduction of a self-exclusion system for those who don’t want to see gambling advertising on the internet.
In Kenya, restricting gambling during the hours of 6am to 8pm has been mooted by the Nairobi County Assembly in a bid to protect working hours.
The Nairobi City County Betting, Lotteries and Gaming (Amendment) Bill 2021 also details regulating mobile betting and banning advertising in areas with betting and gaming locations.
South B MCA Waithera Chege said: “I have observed the operations of betting and gaming establishments in the county for a while now. I believe something must be done to curtail the hours spent in these establishments by our youth if we are to secure our future as a county.
“I shall be proposing that the county and National Licensing Board limit the operating hours of these establishments so as to help protect productive hours among the citizenry and avoid wastage of time by some of our youth who are sadly now addicted to gambling and spend a lot of time at these establishments.”
Finally, the opinions of over 100 UK Members of Parliament on the issue of gambling will be revealed at a Reputation Matters event on 2 November.
The survey was conducted by YouGov and is particularly pertinent due to the current review of the 2005 Gambling Act. MPs were asked questions concerning regulation and whether they feel that some companies act more responsibly than others.
Oliver Rowe, global sector head for leisure and entertainment and director for reputation and business research at YouGov, said: “With so much riding on the review of the Gambling Act, it is important for the industry to understand what MPs as a whole are currently thinking about the sector, hence the interest in this data.
“At the event, we will also be looking at the views of the general public to see if they align with MPs.”
The survey will form part of the ‘Now and forever: surviving the Gambling Act review’ panel, which will examine what industry experts feel will be the likely outcome of the review.